"Doge" is a fun, friendly mascot! The Shiba Inu is a Japanese breed of dog that was popularized as an online meme and represents
What's with Dogecoin and the dog?
DOGE (pronounced /ˈdoʊdʒ/ DOHJ) is a slang term for "dog" that is primarily associated with pictures of
Shiba Inus (nicknamed "Shibe") and internal monologue captions on Tumblr. These photos may be photoshopped to change the dog's face or captioned with interior monologues in Comic Sans font. Starting in 2017, Ironic DOGE formats gained prevalence over the original wholesome version.
How it started?
The use of the misspelled word "DOGE" to refer to a dog dates back to June 24th, 2005, when it was mentioned in an episode of Homestar Runner's puppet show. In the episode titled "Biz Cas Fri 1", Homestar calls Strong Bad his "d-o-g-e" while trying to distract him from his work.
On February 13th, 2010, Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato posted several photos of her rescue-adopted Shiba Inu dog Kabosu to her personal blog. Among the photos included a peculiar shot of Kabosu sitting on a couch while glaring sideways at the camera with raised eyebrows (shown below, right).
In December 2013, shortly after the breakout of "DOGE," the tech news site The Verge published an article identifying Sato's Kabosu as the original Shiba Inu depicted in the meme. In addition to Kabosu, The Verge also identified "Suki," a Shiba Inu who lives with San Francisco-based photographer Jonathan Fleming, as the scarfed dog portrayed in another popular instance of the meme.
On June 24th, 2014, the California-based gaming accessory company filed to trademark "DOGE" with the United States patent office to sell card boxes and playing card covers with Kabosu's likeness on the front. On June 23rd, The Daily Dot published an article about the trademark filing, which included a statement from Ultra PRO General Manager Jay Kuo who claimed the trademark was filed to protect the company from being sued and that they would allow "royalty-free use for any vendor who wishes to use the mark." The article also contained a statement by the Intellectual Property Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Corynne McSherry, who noted that the filing is problematic because it attempts to trademark the entire word, not just a stylized version of it.
Dogecoin as a cypto
On December 6th, BitcoinTalk forum member Dogecoin introduced an alternative cryptocurrency based on the meme as a satire of the Bitcoin boom in a thread titled "Dogecoin – very currency – many coin – wow – v1.1 Released." Similar to Bitcoin and its derivatives, Dogecoin can be mined and exchanged for goods and services among the participants, though it is programmed to level out at a higher threshold of up to 100 billion coins and prevent any use of special bitcoin-mining equipment like ASICs. In comparison, Bitcoin will cap out at 21 million coins and Litecoin will support up to 84 million coins in circulation.
So, who does run Dogecoin?
No-one, or everyone does equally, depending how you look at it. The developers can release new software, but the community have to choose to use that software. That community includes not just the end-users, but miners, exchanges, payment processors, etc. Typically, the community does adopt new software we release because we have an established track record, but there's no special access we have.
Following the launch of the official website, a slew of social media channels and referential webpages soon emerged for Dogecoin, including a Twitter account and a Facebook page, racking up more than 36,000 followers and 13,000 likes within the first two months respectively. On December 8th, an entire subreddit community dedicated to the use of satirical cryptocurrency was launched at /r/dogecoin.